It’s no secret that engineering teams are notoriously non-diverse, but did you know that sales teams have a hard time hiring and attracting women too?
Anyone who’s worked on a sales team knows how bro-y it can get. From the new VP who hires an entire team from his previous company — to after-hours bonding activities that are anything but female-friendly.
Here are some ways to make your sales team more diverse; because diverse teams just perform better.
The Proof Is in the Pudding
Does diversity matter? It should matter to your team. Diverse and inclusive companies see more than 10 times the revenue of their non-diverse competitors. They are also more than 35 percent likely to hit median sales for their industry.
Diverse and inclusive sales teams attract more qualified candidates and perform better than their counterparts. If you needed a push to diversify your team, these numbers should help tip you in the right direction.
How to Build a More Diverse and Inclusive Sales Team
- Take Your Diversity Temperature
Before you can understand where you’re going, you need to determine your starting point. We call this taking your diversity temperature.
How diverse is your sales team right now? How many members of your team are minorities?
It’s important to gather this information without being invasive. You want your team to know that diversity and inclusion matter. But you don’t want to call anyone out or make them feel uncomfortable.
(An example of this would be asking your one female colleague how to fix your diversity problems in front of other members of your team).
Make a list of any programs you have in place to foster inclusion.
You should also make a list of activities or behaviors that might be stifling diversity. These are probably not extremely obvious (you don’t know what you don’t know), so you might want to skip to steps three and four if you’re stuck.
- Outline Your Diversity Goals
What is your projected outcome? Why do you want to increase the diversity of your sales team? Do you want to hire more women and people of color? Do you want to promote more minorities? Do you want to create more awareness of other cultures and genders on your sales team?
- Hire Someone to Help
Even if you feel like your team is on the right track, we recommend hiring a diversity consultant. Many teams believe they are doing everything they can to encourage diversity and inclusion. But you may not be aware of the ways in which you are stifling your own progress.
Hiring an outside consultant or diversity expert can help keep this process moving smoothly.
The important thing to remember at this phase is to ask as many questions as possible. We so often have the idea that we know more than we do, and questioning everything is one way to ensure we leave no stone unturned.
- Research Diverse Companies
Whether or not you decide to hire a consultant, we recommend researching diverse companies. Find ones with sales teams you’d like to model yours after.
Where do they find talent? What programs and training do they promote in-house?
One way to sabotage your efforts is to start implementing ‘diversity hires.’ This often backfires as these employees don’t have the training they need to succeed and are often resented by other team members. They almost always reach a glass cliff — or the point when they’re doomed for failure.
- Track Your Progress
Just as you can’t know where you’re going until you know your starting point, you won’t know if you’re succeeding if you don’t track your progress.
Once you’ve created a path to diversity, mark your milestone successes. Celebrate your wins. And above all, keep checking in with your team and asking questions.
- Create a Culture of Inclusion
Building a more diverse and inclusive sales team isn’t just about hiring the right people. It’s as much about your company’s culture as it is anything else. If you want to determine if a company promotes inclusion, you only need to look as far as its branding, office culture and policies.
Does your website or mission statement mention diversity? Do you promote office and networking activities that are enjoyable for your entire team? Do your policies reflect your values?
To create a culture of inclusion, you need to check in with your team regularly to ensure you’re maintaining your newfound standards.